Quebec Charter of Values Lifts Christianity Above Non-Christian Faiths

In a move that has been criticized by English-Canadian politicians as “playing identity politics,” the provincial governing party of Quebec has unveiled plans to institute a Quebec Charter of Values that will bar most symbols of religious observance worn in public service.

For the secularly-minded, it’s tempting to celebrate the Parti Quebecois for their efforts at enforcing church-state separation… Until you look more closely at the rules being proposed.

Some religious symbols are seen as more acceptable than others, mostly because they are small, unobtrusive, and easily concealed. The “acceptable” items include small, modest pieces of jewelry featuring a cross, Star of David, or other religious symbol. Items deemed “unacceptable” include Sikh turbans, Jewish kippahs, and Islamic head coverings like the hijab and niqab. In other words, the faith symbols typical of Quebec’s Judeo-Christian history are — coincidentally, I’m sure — mostly acceptable, but symbols of “immigrant faiths” are banned.

Oh, and certain religious symbols — specifically the crucifix and Christmas trees — are permitted as “a symbol of Quebec’s cultural heritage.” The stated goal is “religious neutrality”… but clearly some religions are considered more neutral than others.

That sends a message to Quebec’s non-Christian population. “The perception of the government’s message is, ‘We want you here, as long as you stay completely invisible’,” says Haroun Bouazzi, a representative of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for Quebec.

It’s not just religious minorities in Quebec who lose, however. The strict rules affect everyone who consumes public services, as competent and qualified professionals who feel forced to choose between their religious convictions and their livelihood flee to other provinces. The public-sector workers affected by this proposed legislature include educators, medical personnel, and law enforcement officials.

As a minority party, the Parti Quebecois will need opposition support to pass the legislation, and it’s not clear whether such support will come easily. Certainly the major federal parties have all expressed their misgivings, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has vowed to pursue justice on any violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a provincial issue, however, and opposition parties will feel the pressure: Quebec’s largest polling firm, SOM, finds support for the proposed charter growing.

“The time has come to rally around clear rules and common values which will put an end to tensions and misunderstandings,” declared Bernard Drainville, Quebec’s Minister of Democratic Institutions. It sounds glowing on the surface, but the “clear rules” outlined in the Charter have nothing to do with common values shared by all Quebecers; it blatantly ignores the values of the religious minority and the larger Canadian value of multicultural tolerance. Nor is the legislation likely to put an end to tension being felt by people who don’t subscribe to the religion of Quebec’s “cultural heritage.”

Instead, Noa Mendelsohn Aviv called for a more tolerant, multicultural view, speaking on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association:

If we want to have diversity and equality in our society, we need to have diverse leaders, we need to have diverse role models. This proposal would essentially say that’s not possible, a person has to hide aspects of their diversity and certain people won’t be able to fill those roles at all… I think that it violates values that many Canadians and Quebecers hold dear — the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion, the right to autonomy and to make your own choices and — very much — the right to equality.

Let’s hope her perspective wins out.

About Sara Lin Wilde

Sara Lin Wilde is a recovering Catholic (and cat-holic, for that matter - all typographical errors are the responsibility of her feline friends). She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she is working on writing a novel that she really, really hopes can actually get published.

  • smrnda

    When I saw the ‘permitted’ I was thinking ‘totally, earrings with the star and crescent are *totally* the way most Muslims identify as such.’ They might as well have said ‘non-Christian government employees may identify as such by writing their religious affiliation on a small piece of paper to be kept in their pockets at all times.’

    • Jess

      Why show it all especially at work? Isn’t supposed worship private???

      • Wren

        I don’t think that all faiths consider it a private matter.

        • northernTNT

          Religious fanatics proselytise, average religulous are fairly private. This entire discussion is about distinguishing between the requirements of religious fanatics and the “average” ones.

      • WillBell

        I am not sure that you understand how important some of these things are, especially to muslims.

    • ecolt

      Especially right next to a small cross necklace. I know many many many Christians who wear that (even though it’s by no means considered a necessary article of the religion, the way many Muslims, Sikhs and Jews view their head coverings). But I don’t think I have ever seen a woman in my life wear star and crescent earrings.

  • A3Kr0n

    Are Nero cross earrings is OK?

  • Christian

    As someone who grew up in Quebec, lived in Ontario and spent the last decade in California, I have to say you misunderstand the spirit of this proposed charter. They’re taking down crucifix from government offices. That’s a big, big deal.

    They’re saying, like some other countries like France: We’re a secular nation, let’s act as such. Government employees represent the whole population. They shouldn’t promote a religion vs another one, as representatives of a pluralistic population. Thus, signs that are too blatant shouldn’t be allowed. And they’re going to remove quite a number of Christian/Catholic symbols that are found everywhere in the province. If you’ve been to Quebec, you know how prevalent those signs are.

    Thus, saying that the “charter lifts Christianity above the Non-Christian faiths” is a gross misrepresentation of the situation. They had to draw a line somewhere. What they’re saying is “express your faith discreetly during your work as a public servant.” I’m sure there’s a way for Muslims, Sikhs, etc., to do so…

    Otherwise, if they want to live in a non-secular nation, where religious symbols and laws rule the people, then, another place may be more suitable for them…

    • Solomon

      The problem with this argument is that they are specifically banning all of the items that various religious command people to wear, generally in the form of head coverings, meaning that Quebec is actually intending that government employees must actively violate their own faiths. This privileges Christianity because there are no such requirements for Christians, meaning that it is only non-Christians who are being required to violate their own religious beliefs as a condition of employment. While I generally have little sympathy for specifically religious concerns, I am seriously bothered by rules that restrict the free exercise of minority religions, particularly when they don’t affect the majority one.

      • Christian

        This is also a misinformed opinion. On paper Quebec is predominantly Catholic (85%), not generically Christian. Yet, most of these 85% are people with very weak affiliation to their religion. After that, there’s a long tail of other religions including Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. I live in California and am surrounded with people from those religions. And I can attest that, maybe with the exception of some versions of Islam, these religions don’t mandate ‘head coverings’. Most of my muslim friends are not forced to wear anything. Of course, if you’re a Wahhabi Muslim, for example, it won’t be possible for you to work for the Quebec government and meet your religious dress code. But I would argue that there are a few more aspects of life in Quebec that his incompatible with Wahhabi beliefs. But, in general, the vast majority of people in Quebec will have no problem complying. Is this going to stop people from certain religions to immigrate to Quebec? You bet. So be it. Same thing with speaking French. If one is not willing to learn to speak French, the official language of Quebec, then they’re welcome to move somewhere else.

        Btw, my name is Christian, but I’m a non-believer… :)

        • JLP3

          Christian, I must respectfully disagree. I know some Sikh men who do consider it a requirement of their religion to never cut their hair, wear a turban, and wear an iron bracelet. I also do know some who feel it is enough to wear just the bracelet. Religion is subject to interpretation.

          I don’t know if nuns ever work as government social workers in Quebec, but they do here in the U.S. While they don’t dress in habits anymore, they almost always cover their hair and wear crosses. I think a case could be made that they would be in violation of their faith if they couldn’t cover their hair.

          I am an atheist and I can’t expect others to respect my rights if I don’t respect theirs.

          • Emily Fleming

            In Secondary I, my teacher (a public employee, at a public high school) for English was a nun, who wore full habit. She never preached at us, nor held us to Catholic values; it was what she wore. The only time she discussed it with me was when she swapped from a white summer habit to a black one for winter, and I went up to her and expressed sympathy and concern that someone had died and the black signified mourning, so she explained why the switch. That was it. She was a fantastic teacher and an awesome lady, and my class (which contained, to the best of my recollection, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Chrisians, Coptic Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and me – very multicultural high school, it was great) loved her across the board.

            The only religious discussion that ever came up was when we did a module on Greek myth.

            You can wear religious clothing without it affecting the way you treat people, without using it to preach, and without it affecting your ability to do your job.

            • Christian

              @Emily – Have a look at the book “The God Virus”. It’s a very interesting book. Nicely written. And it changed my perception of how religious values are transmitted.

              • Emily Fleming

                While it’s not a book I’ve read yet, nor do I have the time to read it today (or in the near future – I’m studying literature right now, and my reading list is full!), the title would seem to indicate that the thesis involves religion spreading through exposure. Some quick research doesn’t go against this, but I wasn’t able to find a page that explains the central thesis clearly (I suppose that wouldn’t be in the advertising material – they want people to buy the book to find out the answer they have to the question they’re posing!)

                It’s an educated guess, but if I’ve guessed correctly, the argument is the same to me as the religious folks who homeschool, or the person at http://www.fixthefamily.com/blog/6-reasons-to-not-send-your-daughter-to-college who doesn’t want young women to meet “the wrong sort” of people and be exposed to things that might change their perception. You don’t create stronger people by stopping them from seeing that there are people who have different ways of thinking (even if you don’t agree with those ways of thinking; as I’ve said, I’m an atheist, and I do tend to think of religion as harmful.) You create stronger people by teaching them to think critically about ideas they encounter.

                • northernTNT

                  My dear, every thing spreads through exposure, not just religion, specially stupid things like nicotine smoking and alcohol abuse. You see your neighbour do it and then you do it. A vast majority of today’s people have a herd mentality (as is exemplified by the still 95% of all humans being religious). Faith is taught, by example. If faith is not taught, then there is no faith.
                  The crux of this debate is fanatics versus moderates. Moderate faithers do not submit to the dresscodes of imaginary beings, only fanatics require that government policy accommodate fanaticism.

                • Emily Fleming

                  While I know you’re not trying to condescend to me, I’d appreciate not being called “my dear” as we’ve never met that I know of – I imagine I’m not actually unusually dear to you, so it does come across as condescending.

                  I think the issue here is that we’re operating under different definitions of “fanaticism”. For you, based on my understanding of what you’ve written, a fantatic is someone who wears a hat. For me, a fanatic is someone who tries to force everyone else to wear hats.

                • northernTNT

                  Indeed, I condescend to religious fanaticism. People who insist or condone dressing for gods instead of the job deserve nothing else. If that inflames you to no end so be it. I have no respect for fanaticism.
                  This charter is about moderation, not a full ban but just a control on ostentatious displays.

                • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

                  If were a turban is religious fanaticism then you have a piss poor definition of religious fanaticism.

                • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

                  “Holy shit, that turban looks cool, I guess I’ll become a Sihk!” Said no one ever. Religion does not spread by exposure alone.

                  Also this isn’t simply about a dress code. A turban doesn’t only met the dictates of their religion, but it is also a cultural identifier.

                  And this is not a neutral act. Neither Christian nor Atheist are burden by not wearing symbols of their religious belief. It is not against Christianity not to wear a cross, nor is it against atheism not to wear a FSM charm. So neither of these two groups is forced to make a choice between religion and government service. However, a sihk or a muslim is.

            • northernTNT

              My teacher from grade 1-3 was also a Catholic nun. She was an absolute horrible person and was harassing and bullying to a majority of the students.
              So we’ve had an equal share of anecdotes, so who gives a fuck about anecdotes anyway? You REPRESENT what you DRESS. When you are on government time, you need to not be selling your wears… complete neutrality, that is the only way to have a secular work place.

              • Emily Fleming

                I’m sorry to hear you had an awful time – terrible teachers need to be acted upon. I had two awful teachers in my time, who wore T-shirts. It’s the person wearing the clothes who is committing the acts.

                Complete neutrality means, for me, letting people wear hats; there are teachers who wear headscarves because they didn’t feel like washing their hair today, and that would be absolutely fine, but a piece of cloth fundamentally identical (except for covering under the chin) with a different name not being fine – that is discriminatory.

                • northernTNT

                  False again, outside of religious fanatic garb, teachers do not cover their heads. It’s only since governments have been importing cheap labour from theocracies that we have begun to see this happen with employees of the public service.
                  I am an independantiste living outside Quebec since the PQ lost power years ago, but a sovereign Quebec which follows Canada’s religion of “multiculturalism is THE best” is simply of no interest to me.
                  The original sovereign Quebec social project was a social-democratic-secular state. That is the only reason to pursue distinct society. Otherwise we can just look like the melting pots of ROC and USA.

                • Epinephrine

                  Independantiste? Bwahahahaa

                  Quebec only survives thanks to MASSIVE equalization payments. They have exactly zero chance of ever being independent, especially if things paid for by the rest of Canada were not included in the bargain. How many billion dollars in equalization payments did they get this year? over 7 billion?

                • northernTNT

                  And how is your neo-liberal, tea-party, religious economic argument of any relevance to this debate…. none, it’s about culture and culture is not measured in Hollywood blockbusters. Not everything in life has a monetary value.

                • Epinephrine

                  I’m an atheist anti-theist socialist, so your characterization is a little off. On the subject of this law, however, it is not secularism but an attack on visible minorities. When only a minority of the population is actually affected by the law it is not a law about fairness or secularism. It is akin to Anatole France’s comment about the law, “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep
                  under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.”
                  It’s a mockery – the things being banned are really only the visible identifiers of certain religions, and only really affect those believers. I am for a secular government, but also for freedom of expression. If the government should reflect the population, we should not place barriers against the participation of minorities.

                • northernTNT

                  Do you not realise that Quebecers, who were overwhelmingly Catholic, gave Catholicism the BOOT in the 70s and established a secular public service. But in the past decade, federal cheap labour immigration policies have increased the influx of religious cheap labour, (who vote conservative by the way, look at Ontario, multiculturalism is a-culturalism). So what we’ve got is a nation which booted out our own religion from public service, a while ago. Now we’ve got a NEW trend of allowing proselytising in the work place (not with words but with garb/symbols, inefficient as some may feel it is). So what would be the point of booting out our own religion but then allowing in other religions. That is contrary to the democratically chosen social project. Quebecers desire a secular government, not an interfaith one. And again you lie, basically anything over an inch is banned, Catholic included. Everyone is treated the same. There are plenty of Muslims and Sikhs in government who do not wear garb. Only fanatics insist on their garb while representing the government.

                • Sean McCann

                  Are they getting rid of the cross in the National Assembly? No? Then tell me more about your mythical secular government, you racist ass.

                • northernTNT

                  Wow, really, how well does your name calling work for you in the rest of your life? You know nothing about me, and you obviously about as much about the state of secularism in the only secular geography in North America. Folks such as you are a disgrace to secularism, for you talk but you have no idea of what a real secular society looks like. I’ve lived/loved/volunteered in 20 countries, mostly non-white, on a budget. Racism is not part of the equation. Anti-theist is the entire picture. And I won’t call you stupid names or cuss you out because I don’t sink as low as you in life.

                • Sean McCann

                  OK, secularist, describe to me how the crucifix in the National Assembly is “secular”.
                  You are standing up for the same tired old Quebec bigotry, thus I called you racist. That is all.

                • northernTNT

                  As I’ve said a gazillion times here, I think the NA cross should be placed alongside other historical artefacts, wherever that may be in the building, and a majority of the folks who agree with this charter think this. Or haven’t you been reading, no, I didn’t think so. But your argument is faulty in that you think we’re not allowed to address dresscodes and workplace ethics unless we also address landscaping/architectural design. But that is a whole separate issue. So can you possibly try to stick to the topic at hand, dresscode/officespace for the millions of government employees.

                • John Sabotta

                  Oh, you’re a secularist, all right, in a certain sense
                  . And yes, you are against religious symbolism. But not really, I think, because you have much or really anything in common with the people around here. If you were an older type of obscurantist nationalist, you’d make the Church into some baroque political prop of a traditionalist confessional regime, like, perhaps, Austria under Doilfuss. But you’re not interested in that; you want the community, the volk (represented inevitably by an authoritarian State) to take the place of God. Of course, this means rejecting Jewish-American plutocracy, decadent and degenerate as you no doubt think it is.

                  But your kind, that gang of traitors, saw differently in 1944, didn’t they? as they fled justice from castle to castle

                  (The last phrase lifted from that novelist , perhaps indeed a good writer but a vile human being, who really should have been shot after the War. His memoirs of the final agonies of Vichy are pretty funny, though.)

                • Epinephrine

                  “And again you lie, basically anything over an inch is banned, Catholic included. Everyone is treated the same.”

                  Yes, and neither the rich nor the poor can sleep under bridges. And gay people have the same rights as straight people, to marry someone of the opposite sex. Do you not see how it is discriminatory to ban items that only some religions use? Will the wearing of Pe’at by Jews be considered proselytising next?

                • northernTNT

                  You’ve obviously too little work experience to know that bans on dress codes and symbols (political/sport/philosophy/etc) are a regular component of a sentient adult life. But NOOOOOOOO, religious people are allowed to have their own rules. No thanks. I’m not working towards an interfaith society but a secular one. And to see atheists take the superstition/faith/belief apologists stance makes your atheism completely useless. You may as well be a believer if your non faith does not inform you on the costs of giving faithers special rights.

                • allein

                  Maybe some of us just don’t see individuals’ personal clothing choices as “special rights.” And quit talking down to everyone; we’re not a bunch of children with no life experience. We simply disagree with you on what constitutes “fanaticism” and reasonable accommodation for personal religious expression.

                • Epinephrine

                  You obviously think a great deal of yourself and your experience. I’ve got more than 20 years of work in various venues, with more than 10 in government.
                  “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
                  The law is discriminatory because of the different dress requirements for different religions, and the fact that the law essentially allows Christians to wear their faith in a manner that does not interfere with their beliefs, while restricting the rights of other faiths to follow their beliefs. If it had NO religious symbols, then it wouldn’t be discriminatory that way, though it might still be seen as a barrier to minorities who feel they must follow certain dress codes. As it is, this law does nothing to prevent the practice and display of Christianity in the traditional ways (small crucifixes, earrings, etc.) but not the traditions of minorities.

                  You’re getting tiring, however, in your pig-headed ignorance. You may as well be a bigoted Christian given your attitudes.

                • northernTNT

                  Only fanatics follow religious garb requirements to a T. Most religious folks don’t. Therefore the exclusion is a self imposed one, by fanatics, for fanatics. The rest of the religious crowd are not affected.
                  You can call me Pig Headed Ignorant all you like that won’t make you right and it only demonstrates how low some people sink when they aren’t winning an argument. Makes me sorrow for you.

                • Epinephrine

                  Simple question: Does the law discriminate by allowing traditional religious accouterments for some religions while making the traditional garb of other religions illegal? If yes, it is discriminatory and against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That’s all. The law is discriminatory, and shouldn’t be allowed.

                • northernTNT

                  Two answers. Today, any cross on an office wall or desk will disappear, except for the AN one, which I agree should be put in a museum also. ALL symbols and garb which are ostentatious are to be removed. Which means ANY symbol of your religion that is small enough to be worn on your ear and not “in your face” (ostentatious) is permitted. Catholic garb was altogether ELIMINATED decades ago. Public servants have been mostly neutral since then, until last decade, when a social movement called “accommodements raisonnables” gave special permissions to some religions (not Catholics, because people were already over that) to exhibit their religion while at work. That was a CHANGE to public policy, under a right wing religious government, which favoured multi-faith over secularity. The PQ has always been about secular government, from its inception.
                  As for “law”, Canada’s law is not exactly Quebec’s law, in several areas, we have different civil law, the Canadian Constitution was ratified without Quebec and Quebec has its own Charter of rights. Quebec has much stronger work code laws and Quebec has stronger tenant rental laws. Quebec was also first in common law marriage protection of females and my sister celebrated her union with her lesbian partner in 1989, which eventually led to Quebec approving gay civil unions in 2002. Quebec is different from Canada in many more regards, but these are some of the major “law” differences.
                  Except for that one cross which is part of the building that holds the National Assembly, the Charter treats Christian symbols in the exact same manner as all other religions. And believe me, we all want the NA cross to be gone too.
                  But you must remember, when Quebecers became secular in the 70s and gave the boot to Christianity, we didn’t think we’d have to start all over again for all the new religions trying to establish a foothold in the province.

                • John Sabotta

                  “Social democratic” No, not quite. Let’s see, nationalist shading off into facism (“melting pots” are the worst)…socialist…um. well we’ve seen that before, I think, Which males this anti-religious initiative really a anti-”foreigner” initiative, no matter how many points you try to score with the atheists here by going on about “faithists”. (I’m not overly fond of them but to give them credit they arn’t falling for it at all.} Which makes it really a quiet little pogrom, right?

          • Christian

            Of course one can find cases of people who will be impacted by any new law/charter. That’s unavoidable. That’s the exercise of democracy. It’s always a little messy. I did a search online and looked at the current religious distribution in Québec, and I conclude that this new charter would impact less than 0.1% of the population (assuming they all worked for the government). In the end, I’m starting to think this is ‘much ado about nothing’. The bigger deal here, which the English-speaking media appears to be missing (it’s making a lot of noise in the French-speaking one), is that the government is getting ready to dismantle countless Catholic symbols from public places. Even though most Catholics I know in Québec don’t really practice their religion, they’re scared to see part of their history disappear…

            • ahermit

              There is a difference between removing permanent religious symbols from the walls of a government building (which I would be in favour of) and forcing individuals to conform to a dress code which may violate their beliefs…

              • northernTNT

                Of course, as a hermit, you do not work in a government public place so you’re not compelled to a dresscode you disagree with… such as no baseball caps, no tuques, no tatts, no political logos, no philosophical logos… So fanatics who want to submit to imaginary beings and place that above their civil responsibilities, well… they should do as you do and live as hermits, then their dress does not matter.

            • Kitty

              So since only 0.1% of the population will have their rights violated, we just shouldn’t care. Really. That is an atrocious argument. And btw, I’m Catholic. If I lived in Quebec, I would like the option of wearing a large cross to work. So it does effects more than just 0.1%.

          • Quintin van Zuijlen

            I would suggest that, if you have to violate your faith in order to comply with policies that are not designed to be religiously neutral, then tough luck. If your religion says you can’t do x and must do y and your employer requires you to do x and not do y, then you shouldn’t ask to be accomodated, you shouldn’t ask to be judged by some other set of rules.

            • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

              But what if your religion say you must do x, and then your employer says you can’t do x. What if x has absolutely nothing to do with your job performance or the ability to do your job safely? So would you be saying the same thing if x was “to wear a hajib” and y was “not to wear a hajib.”

          • Nancy

            The nuns and the priests who wanted to continue to work in schools or in the hospitals had to renounce the habit and it included the hair coverings and that was in the ’60. The stories of the influence of the church had a very real impact in the lives of my parents and theirs before them. When you speak to the elders, it was not a good thing. It is not something I would welcome back: the influence of religion on my daily life. About 10 years ago, the catholic courses have been taken out of the schools to be replaced by a ethics course. It was a choc at first for a community that is mostly catholic but that didn’t stop the progress of putting religion in the private sphere.

            • Emily Fleming

              Really? My public high school in the 90′s employed one habit-and-wimple-wearing nun.

              Not saying that I don’t appreciate what the quiet revolution did, but as far as I can tell from the 90s and thereafter (not having been present in the 60s and 70s; we moved to Quebec in 1984, at which point in time I was an infant), it affected what was taught in schools more than what people wore to teach the classes.

            • northernTNT

              Indeed. The word secular has become much misused and many groups that are non-religious/atheist/agnostic/Humanist/Brights have been coopting the word secular. But being “secular” is not an individual quality of faith, it is a an institutional quality of neutrality. Secularity benefits believers and non believers alike. It keeps our personal ideas out of our institutions.

          • northernTNT

            Exactly… interpretation… fanatics submit to imaginary beings before their country of adoption, regular folks can do with less ostentatious demonstrations of faith WHILE AT WORK IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Head coverings are required for Orthodox Jewish men and women.

          • Christian

            They form <0.01% of the Quebec population… Should new laws be done for the majority or exceptions made for a very minute portion of the population?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Considering that rights are rights irrespective of the percentage of the population any single minority comprises, yes, their needs (and the needs of devout Muslims and Sikhs and many others) must be taken into consideration.

              • Emily Fleming

                Health care coverage covers very rare diseases, even though that coverage only affects a very, very small percentage. While there’s a qualitative difference here, rights need to apply to everyone, otherwise they are not rights.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Indeed. We are in agreement.

              • northernTNT

                False, rights are relative to what each society decides are rights. Why should a fanatic’s right to cover his head take precedence over my own secular culture. Why am I not allowed to wear a baseball cap at work but a fanatic gets to shun our rules?
                Everyone same rules. If head coverings are ok, then they’re ok for everyone.
                Everyone same rules. If symbols (clothes or work space) are allowed then we can all wear symbols, political, sports, charities, philosophies, brands, etc.
                No exceptions for fanaticism.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Because we, as a society, have clearly given private religious beliefs a place on a pedestal. And while I think all religions are quite silly, I can understand why harmless observances get their own special rules.

                  As for baseball caps- those are just unprofessionally casual in most workplaces. I see no reason to allow hijabs and deny other head coverings, but it’s equally illogical to deny hijabs and allow other head coverings. Treat it like a fancy scarf and be done with it. So long as it meets the standards of professional attire, don’t worry about it.

                • northernTNT

                  All religious garb/symbols are “unprofessional”. They demonstrate one values imaginary beings over and above one’s professional responsibilities and tax-payer paid position.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Nonsense. None of them inherently interfere one bit with one’s professional responsibilities and taxpayer paid position. I can sit at a desk and do data entry in the nude, in my pajamas, in a ball gown, in a burqa, in a wig, with a scarf on my head, or any just about any type of attire you can imagine that isn’t uncomfortable to sit in and allows some freedom of movement.

                • northernTNT

                  So, let’s just ban all dress codes then. I’ll be wearing a large hoodie to work tomorrow, and keep my head covered all day, while I teach my students.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  If you think the respect inherent in your position as teacher isn’t tied to dressing nicer than your students, you have a very flawed conception of the messages clothing sends.

                  If, on the other hand, you have a nice sharp fedora to wear, I see no problems with that. It’s still potentially professional attire.

                • northernTNT

                  So why don’t you start a petition banning all dress codes (religious or not)… and set some arbitrary standard beyond that for what exactly one can consider “professional attire”. And then at the same time, convince all those fanatics that if we don’t have dress codes, then they shouldn’t either.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You know as well as I do that ‘professional attire’ changes over time, as do styles in general. However, that being said, there is nothing about religious symbols that makes them unprofessional.

                  You also assume I care deeply about dress codes, which I really don’t. If a headscarf is a legitimate accessory, it’s a legitimate accessory no matter if someone is wearing it because God said to or because ze thinks it looks nice.

                • northernTNT

                  Headscarfs are not traditionally in North America professional attire because they cover the head… but fanatics have made you believe that their head scarf is mandated by imaginary beings and that if they can’t wear they will burn in hell… well boo hoo. Since there is no hell to burn in, I am not at all worried about them.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You really know nothing at all about fashion, do you? I mean, I don’t know much about it, but you seem really terribly ignorant right now.

                • northernTNT

                  I spit on fashion, to me it’s just as stupid as religion. And I dislike both because I understand the sociological implications. I see the bullying daily in schools when kids dressed “cool” bully those of less money, I see misogynistic males imprisoning females in ridiculous fashion garb. It’s all the same shit, it’s all meant to create social pressures. So we have a choice of social pressure towards neutrality or a social pressure towards fanaticism and misogyny. They are both social pressures, but I favour the neutrality one.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You know, as a female, I resent that I can’t pick clothes that I like or I think look good on me without you assuming I’m dressing for the male gaze.

                • northernTNT

                  Yes and as a female I resent the very thought of dressing expectations by gender or religious. Religious garb is not “choice” it is Stockholm Syndrome.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Disagree. It can be by choice. My sister has made the choice to live by Orthodox rules, and while I do not think it is a good choice, I would never tell her that she doesn’t have the right to make it. I know many Muslim women in the US who know they have full choice in wearing the hijab or not and choose to wear it from pride, or to say “we’re here and we’re American too”, or because it’s also cultural, or because they think it looks nice.

                • northernTNT

                  She has the right but don’t go calling brainwashing a “choice”, it’s not. When not wearing a covering means death, not wearing it is not a choice.

                • Kitty

                  You do adults a real disservice by assuming that they are all brainwashed. There are some people who think deeply about whether or not they want to believe in a God or religion – and decide that they do. I know, it’s shocking to realize that there are people who disagree with something you think is so “obvious”, but there are. And it is not something that you should find threatening, you should be celebrating that we can all believe what we want here (and express those beliefs however we see fit!) without worrying for our safety, or being barred from certain jobs or rights. It’s something to CELEBRATE, not to spit on.

                • northernTNT

                  Religion=faith=brainwashing. If you fail to see that we are all born free from stupidity and with amazing brain potential, until idiot brainwashed parents brainwash their own kids. Faith/superstitions should be like nicotine and booze, no exposure before age of majority. Celebrating diversity is a celebration of nothingness and it’s the very reason we as a country are under the throes of an endlessly incompetent democracy killing conservative government… for those very reasons of valuing no culture in the name of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is just a misnomer for cheap labour, and I’ll have no part of it and will fight that to my last breath.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Here in the US, it’s absolutely not a life and death decision. In some parts of the world, you are correct. Here, though? No. Which is why all my examples were confined to the USA, oh-so-observant one.

                • northernTNT

                  False, there have been several honour killings in each of our countries, male family members killing their female family members, for not obeying sharia. Females are slaves, baby popppers, cleaner-uppers under sharia. Only a very foolish or desperate or mentally ill free female would convert to Islam. But then again, love is blind, silly thing.
                  And by the way, this is entirely a Quebec debate, so sticking to strictly USA content is pretty futile don’t you think?

                • allein

                  Headscarves are not traditionally in North American professional attire because they are not traditionally in North American cultural practice, not simply because they cover the head. If they were common as a cultural/religious thing, there would be little question of whether they are acceptable professional dress.

          • northernTNT

            orthodox=fanatic, burp

      • northernTNT

        If people feel commanded by imaginary beings to proselytise while being paid by government they are FANATICs, and our society has no obligation whatsoever to bow to their every whim… as Canada’s been doing for a couple of decades.

        • allein

          Simply wearing a headscarf (or yarmulke, or turban, or cross necklace) is not proselytizing. I used to work with a woman who wore a headscarf and she was entirely professional at her job, a nice, friendly person, and never tried to convert anyone to Islam. She wore it because her interpretation of her religion called for her to wear it, and she had no illusions that anyone else around her should follow suit. Never did it interfere with her job or interacting with her coworkers.

          • northernTNT

            “Representing” and “proselytising” are essentially the same thing. You represent what you dress. You dress like a thug you are representing thug life. That is how ideas are passed on, though social pressure/representation/proselytising. People keep focusing on the individual wearer’s intent, that is NOT the issue. The issue is the consequences at the social level. It’s like a rapist saying he did not “intend” to hurt anyone… the intent is one thing, the social consequence is the other. I don’t give a hoot what any person’s relationship with imaginary beings is and what those imaginary beings are “commanding” them to do, I only care that we all have the same expectations when we head in to work in the morning.

            • allein

              Proselytize: to convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another. Wearing a headscarf, etc. is not attempting to convert anyone to anything. Someone wearing a yarmulke does not make me feel pressured to follow their religion. As long as they act professionally while dealing with me, I don’t care what they’re wearing. If “society” can’t deal with someone wearing religious garb that doesn’t interfere with their ability to do their job, then society needs to grow up. How does it hurt you to see someone wearing a turban at work? When I head to work in the morning, I expect my coworkers to do their jobs just as they expect me to do mine. If they’re wearing a scarf, I don’t care. If they’re telling me I should wear a scarf, then I’ll have a problem with it.

              • northernTNT

                Because I am held to a dress code, and fanatics are not. It’s not the mark of a civil society to have discriminatory laws, and “les accommodements” are discriminatory to all those who follow dress codes. You only look at the dictionary definition of the word and not the entire socio/religious context of “habits” and “representation”. When voices in your head tell you to obey your church (or whatever it’s called in whatever religion) when they say to wear ridiculous garb… it’s not for fun, it’s for representation. If you have failed to realise that is how religion works, then you’re beyond hope. No a nun in wings may not individually convince a young lady to shun reality for a convent, but that is only an individual extreme, overall, garb IS a way creating a peer pressure to ensure uniformity, the more garb is visible/present, the more influence it has. Gang garb is no different, you enter a gang you dress the gang’s colours, it’s all about representation, and members of churches are really no different from gang members in their use of fashion statements to establish domination.
                That is is the point of this law, you do that shit on your own time, but not on the government’s dime.

                • allein

                  Wearing something that represents your religious background is not that same as telling other people they should practice your religion. The people I know who wear things for religious reasons are doing it for themselves, because they believe it matters on a level that just wanting to wear a baseball cap does not (whether their underlying reasons are truly their choice or not is immaterial to this particular issue, nor is whether I think it actually matters, but then I live in the US where we [theoretically] believe in the whole “free exercise” thing). And it doesn’t cost the government anything to accommodate that in a dress code. But I feel I’m repeating myself so I’m done with this conversation.

                • northernTNT

                  Ok allein, I suggest you go to university and take some marketing classes. You might find out about one of marketing’s main tools… branding. When you wear NIKE your are representing NIKE, you are selling it. When you wear a Mets cap, you are representing them, selling them. Pepsi goes to schools and has students branded with their logo, as representation.
                  You need to take university history courses and learn that men made religion up, they wrote lies onto pieces of paper, and power negotiated over which bits of paper got put down into that ridiculous book that so many people follow. One of the tools that religions use to mold people and hold people in their grasp, to brainwash people, through peer pressure is DRESSCODE.
                  I also suggest you read some machiavelli, you will learn a lot about the human religio-political brain really works.
                  If you think a religious garb is just a piece of meaningless cloth you have seriously drank too much religious koolaid. I realise you may not have been on this side of the religious fence for many years. But you need to forget the lies you were taught as a kid. Religious garb is proselytising, that’s is ONLY use. Those who wear messages without intention are fools.

                • allein

                  If you think a religious garb is just a piece of meaningless cloth you have seriously drank too much religious koolaid.

                  To someone who is not religious (or of that religion), yes, it is meaningless. Someone else’s headscarf or turban or whatever is meaningless to me. At the same time, I am capable of recognizing that it means something to them and that it doesn’t affect me in the slightest to see them as I go about my day. I see all kinds of advertising, every single day, and I don’t feel compelled to buy every brand out there just because I see a logo. Religion doesn’t spread to other people just because someone wears a piece of clothing. I have a college degree, and I am well aware that religion was made up by people. I am also well aware that you are not going to get rid of it by telling people they aren’t allowed to follow the “DRESSCODE” that they think their religion calls for.

                  I’m not sure what you mean by “this side of the religious fence” but I went to a mainstream church as a kid, religion was something we did on Sundays and did not take particularly seriously the rest of the week, and I have been non-religious for over half my life. But thank you for your condescension and have a nice day.

                • Kitty

                  You know, you are perfectly capable of wearing a turban or a headscarf, or a habit, or a priestly collar, or a cross, to work. No one is stopping you. You just don’t want to. Other people do, and they should be allowed to.

                • northernTNT

                  Why the fuck would I want to represent religion???? I disagree with your statement profoundly. Nobody wears headgear inside any public building. Why do you feel religious fanatics should get a pass on that?????

                • Kitty

                  You completely misunderstood my statement. I am not saying that you want to represent a religion – I am saying that you don’t want to, but that, if you wanted to, you could. So you have the same rights as religious people, you just choose not to take advantage of them. You keep complaining that “no one is allowed to wear headgear” … except that people ARE allowed to where head scarves or turbans to work, so people ARE in fact allowed to wear headgear inside public buildings. You could wear headgear too, IF you wanted to.

                  And seriously? “Nobody wears headgear inside any public building.” That is just obviously not true. I work inside a public building every single day, and I see people in headscarves, tuques, baseball caps, fancy hats, turbans, ear muffs, fedoras, church veils, etc.. every. single. day. You are talking nonsense.

    • ahermit

      I hadn’t heard anything about removing crucifixes from government offices; i do know the crosses in the legislature are staying…

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/09/10/quebec-values-charter-key-points.html

      We had this debate years ago on a federal level over Sikhs in the RCMP wearing turbans. Forcing Sikhs or Orthodox Jews to choose between a career in civil service and what they see as a religious obligation is not reasonable. I’m not bothered one bit if the person selling me stamps at the post office is wearing a yarmulke

      A truly secular society treats all religious expression equally; it doesn’t seek to annihilate that expression, especially not in a way which disproportionately affects minorities.

      And the wearing of headscarves, etc is as much, if not more, a cultural than a religious expression for many. How does the government propose to make that distinction?

      • Christian

        I understand they offer a 5-year grace period for places like hospitals and schools to decide what to do with their religious symbols. They are absolutely everywhere, in the grand scheme of things. It’s probably difficult for anyone who hasn’t lived in Québec to understand how powerful the Clergy was in the post-war era. And how much Québec society vehemently reacted to it later and fled the Catholic Church. In reality, most Québécois are new to seeing other religions. And, that scares them a little…

        • ahermit

          I understand they offer a 5-year grace period for places like hospitals and schools to decide what to do with their religious symbols

          So Christian symbols are subject to a grace period and institutional choice, but others are banned outright. And the Christian symbols in the Legislature itself; the very seat of government, are exempt. Does this seem reasonable to you?

          In reality, most Québécois are new to seeing other religions. And, that scares them a little…

          Yes I understand that. And ignorant fear of minorities often leads to oppression of those minorities…which is exactly what we are seeing here.

          • Christian

            I personally think they should go all the way and remove the crosses/crucifies from all public places, to be true to the spirit of the charter. But they keep the one at the Assemblée Nationale as a sign of the past, of their heritage. I can see the point in this. They probably should keep some around just as a reminder of what they had to go through when the Clergy was in charge.

            Although, the government can never please everybody and make rules to accommodate everyone, they are bound to ‘oppress’ some minorities. In this case, it’s a very minute one (probably <<0.01%). And these people are not barred from working. Just barred from getting a public servant position.

            At the same time, one could argue that the very 'orthodox' Muslims or Sikhs that moved to Québec, a society with a deep catholic heritage, ought to have known when they did that it wouldn't all be easy. One can't move into a new country and force people to behave they way they want.

            I didn't force people to speak French when I moved to California. ;-)

          • northernTNT

            Stop your misrepresentations. It has nothing to do with visible minorities, it’s about valuing secular values and giving the boot to religious fanaticism. Non fanatic religious people fit in just fine and obey the same rules as the rest of us.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Wearing a symbol of one’s religion isn’t fanaticism, just fyi.

              • northernTNT

                Of course it is, how else do you define prioritising a sky daddy over your employer???

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  It’s a silly rule. Any silly rules my employer tries to implement, I may well say I don’t want to follow them and fight back against them. All of the religious clothing mentioned doesn’t get in the way of doing one’s job, so the employer shouldn’t regulate it.

                  Fanaticism would be insisting that everyone wear the religious symbol of one’s personal choice.

                • northernTNT

                  So as I responded to Emily, your issue is not with this charter but the very concept of dress codes in the first place. Well that is an entirely different debate now isn’t it?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Incorrect. I don’t mind dress codes per se, I just ask that they be nondiscriminatory and make sense for the task at hand.

                • northernTNT

                  A religious person covering their head while others don’t is discriminatory to the others. As long as you’re voting for uneven rules, fanatics win.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Are others prohibited from covering their heads? Or is it just that ballcaps and other unprofessional hats are banned?

                • northernTNT

                  Dear me, what age are you to not know our social conventions on dress codes? Are you seriously asking that question???????????
                  You mentioned earlier a sharp fedora would be nice in class… Not only is any fedora or any hat not allowed in class, it’s not even allowed in the building. Headgear are for outdoors. As soon as one passes through the building doors, the headgear comes off hats/caps/tuques/scarves/hoodies, anything. This is not only true of workplaces employees, but also students in classes (of any level).
                  So if it’s the very concept of dress codes that you’re against, then you’re arguing on the wrong discussion, your beef is not the charter but any imposition on your right to choose your work attire.
                  You call me ignorant but your lack of basic social rules indicates to the opposite.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I live in the US. Headwear is allowed indoors, if it’s religious or fashionable, including by government employees (which includes teachers). I wear shawls sometimes, including over my head if it’s cold. I’ve seen people wear cute hats all day, including indoors. It’s true that men usually take their hats off, but they aren’t required to. It’s convention but not part of any formal dress code.

                • northernTNT

                  I lived in the USA for 10 years out of my near 50, never seen what you say in any government office or classroom or hospital in the USA… Because the USA constitution legislates separation of Church and State, government employees tend to obey the government. But Canada’s constitution is based on imaginary deities. And in this regard, Quebec has been fighting that for a long time. There are still publicly funded Catholic schools all over the country (but NOT in Quebec). Quebecers, believers and non-believers and strongly secular and have been fighting Canada on reliigous schizophrenia for a long time.
                  Now that you say you’re in the USA, I laugh even harder at you calling me ignorant, while I’m the one who’s lived a quarter century in Quebec and a decade in the USA and the rest of my half century in 20 different countries working and studying and volunteering. I KNOW what life and religion and work are like in Quebec. My mom is a unilingual anglo in this French nation that is Quebec, and she is also in approval of this Charter.
                  You really need to pay more attention to all the strife happening in previously peaceful countries in Europe. Any inch gained by religious zealoutry is a cost to our civilisation. Let that not be misunderstood.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh, I see. You assume I’m uncultured and ignorant because I live in the US. Thanks so much for that. Coming from the person who can’t manage paragraph breaks and loves run-on sentences, the irony burns even more.

                  No, I don’t know the exact state of affairs in Quebec, but your blind intolerance here doesn’t suggest you know either. You’re spending many words supporting government religious discrimination, after all. And the strife in Europe? Is in large part economic, combined with a lot of nationalist xenophobic parties rising as people struggle with racism that has gone unaddressed for too long combined with a terribly bleak economy. Bad economies often lead to xenophobia because people are scared and looking for someone to blame, but that’s not the fault of immigrants.

                • northernTNT

                  Nope, you started calling me ignorant without knowing anything about me, but the more I get to know you, the more I find you are simply projecting your own ignorance onto others. I loved my 10 years in the USA and miss it dearly.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Do tell me how I’m wrong, then. Don’t just call me ignorant, prove it.

                  And I do believe I called you ignorant about fashion, which is a far cry indeed from calling you ignorant in general. Since you appear completely oblivious to the fashion of wearing scarves over one’s head on occasion as a chic accessory, it seems a valid accusation.

                • northernTNT

                  Fuck me, YOU are the one that started with the ad hominem. I am too cultured to sink so low as you, when you started this line of attack you only reflected badly upon yourself. Next time you want to completely speak out of turn in complete falseness and call other people ignorant, you may want to reconsider your own.

                • Sean McCann

                  That is total BS.

      • northernTNT

        It’s not about the “nature” or “intent” of that scarf. It’s about what every other employee must comply to, no head coverings[ (unless you’re receiving chemo and are loosing your hair). Every single other Canadian removes head gear when entering a workplace. Only fanatics obey god before employer. The rest of us must obey employer, or quit. Fanatics… deal with it.

        • ahermit

          Every single Canadian removes headgear in the workplace?

          Ok then….you must live in a different Canada than I do…

          Arbitrary rules which serve to exclude selected minorities from participating in the work force are simply not compatible with a pluralistic democratic secular society. This whole idea just reeks of small minded bigotry.

          • northernTNT

            Fuck me, we’re talking government here. The charter does not address back alley mobster workplaces, entrepreneurs, sporting goods retail stores, restaurants, etc, are you being purposefully obtuse?
            When’s the last time you went in to a Tax Canada office and got served by a hoodie or a baseball cap???????

            • ahermit

              “Every single Canadian” (your words, not mine) does not work for the government. If you’re going to try and make an argument you’ll have to be more precise with your language.

              Now please explain to me, how exactly does a Yarmulke affect the ability of a tax assesor to do his job?

              • northernTNT

                The discussion is about government employees, focus mate, focus.

                • ahermit

                  I was responding to YOUR comment about “Every single Canadian.” Don’t blame me for your sloppiness…

                  Now explain to me how a Yarmulke affects the ability of a tax assessor or a bus driver to do his job if you can.

                • northernTNT

                  Same way as a baseball cap or a hoodie. It has nothing to do with performance, this is your own distraction. The Charter is about representation.

                • ahermit

                  In other words you can’t answer the question.

                  but if it’s about representation why would we insist that certain minorities not be represented? Doesn’t excluding selected minorities seem contrary to the idea of representative, pluralistic democracy?

                • Sean McCann

                  This person does not want a pluralistic democracy. Quebec nationalism is not very inclusive (anymore).

            • Emily Fleming

              I’ve been served by ladies wearing (non-religious) scarves, and work in a (public) school where folks come into work wearing them; usually because they’re having a lousy hair day.

              Hoodies and baseball caps are inanimate objects and I would not trust them with my taxes. Folks wearing them, though, sure.

      • Emily Fleming

        Regarding Sikhs in the RCMP – if I remember right, they solved the issue by having uniform-compliant turbans, which look damn snappy. http://www.sagennext.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IMG_4656.jpg

    • ahermit

      But secular does not mean being exclusive of religion; it means being inclusive of all beliefs without giving preference to any. I’m an atheist but I’m not interested in living in a society that puts up barriers to freedom of conscience. That’s a two edged sword…

  • kashicat

    I’m certainly getting responses from Quebecers who are atheists and who strongly oppose this measure. If this was truly meant to create a “secular” state, then even those rings and earrings would be banned, as would the Xmas tree. And many people wear things like a headscarf or a turban as purely cultural things and not for religious reasons. This is racism, pure and simple.

    I much prefer the way we do it in Toronto — where you have a right to choose your expression, as long as it is tasteful and doesn’t interfere with your work or interactions with other citizens and as long as it is not using the government to impose your religious values on others. I’m a staunch atheist and would fight for the right of anybody in this society to express themselves religiously.

    This is a citizenship (and racist) issue, as far as I’m concerned, and not a religious issue at all.

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      I don’t get this association of Christmas trees with Christianity. Then again, I’m Dutch, so I’m used to only about 2% of the population being fundamentalists.

      • David Kopp

        It’s because they’ve claimed a pagan symbol for Jeebus without actually understanding any of it ;)

      • ecolt

        First off, it is a religious holiday even if it has become commercialized and more secular over time. For people in other traditions it can sometimes feel like another religion is being forced down your throat for about a tenth of the year.

        Also, Canada’s not quite as bad about it as the US, but there’s the whole “war on Christmas” thing in which conservatives insist that everyone “keep the Christ in Christmas” and re-assert is as a specifically religious holiday instead of a more generic event or a season in which many faiths have holy days.

    • northernTNT

      You (and those you quote) have massively misunderstood the point of the charter!

      The point is not a complete ban, the point is not being ostentatious, not be “in your face”, not proselytising.

      • katiehippie

        You forgot to include the word “fanatic” in your comment.

        • northernTNT

          Thank you. Fanatic.

      • Epinephrine

        No, it’s bullshit rules that are from our most xenophobic province. A head scarf is not proselytising.

        • northernTNT

          Multiculturalism as a non negotiable value is like a religion in ROC, But it’s only a lie camouflaging a-culturalism. ALL clothing is proselytising. If you are wearing NIKE your are representing NIKE. If you don’t understand that, then you need to go to university and take some marketing classes. It is part of the fundamentals of marketing, you are representing what you wear. Are First Nations xenophobes because they have a culture and desire to protect it? NO. It’s the same for Quebec. The people in that province have mostly a heritage that dates back over 400 years. But ROC has issues with “culture”. ROC spent from 1920s to 1970s trying to exterminate 1st Nations culture, and now ROC is continuing on it’s culture bashing trend by bashing on Quebec. People have a right to culture, and a right to defend culture. Deal with it.

          • invivoMark

            Oh my, your views are a lot more troubling than I first suspected.

            Somehow you think that protecting the culture of First Nations is equivalent to “protecting the culture” of Quebec by banning from public employment substantial minorities? That’s simply absurd.

            Exactly which “culture” is being protected by not allowing Sikhs to work at the DMV?

            • northernTNT

              It’s not equivalent quantitatively, but it is qualitatively. The first Frenchies in North America interbred with the Micmac, as did many Frenchies out West. The English colonialists thought Frenchies were savages, for wanting to have any part of the native population. The anglos were more interested in scalping and land grabs. A very large percentage of “Quebecois de souche” hail back to those times and could on a biological basis claim metis status. Whether speaking of Tibetans, Basques, Baltic countries under USSR, etc, nations have a right to self-determination. Yes there is a pecking order, yes first there were 1st nations, second there were 2nd nations (Thule, Dorset, Inuit in the North), third there were Frenchies, who mixed with the natives, then there were English who took over the land and stole everything and created residential schools to exterminate the native culture. The anglos also attempted to destroy French culture by imposing a heavy handed Catholic rule over affairs of state in Lower Canada, to become Quebec. There is a long history there and unless you’re aware of the entire situation, your opinions are based on only partial facts.
              My views are troubling to you and others here because my parents, contrary to most, taught me to always refuse to drink the koolaid. All I read on this blog is religious apologetics. That is what I find “troubling”. I realise this is the “friendly” atheist… but too friendly and ones brains fall out.

              • invivoMark

                I haven’t drunk any “kool-aid” and I’m offended by the implication that I have. Your arguments are dumb and your views are borderline bigotry (with reservation on the “borderline”). I know it’s easier to simply accuse anyone who disagrees with you of ignorance and dogmatism than it is to actually defend your arguments, but please, try not to be so intellectually lazy.

                This should be simple. You made a claim that banning Sikhs (et al.) from holding down jobs at the DMV (et al.) is protecting Quebec’s culture. Can you support this claim or not?

                And if, somehow, Quebec’s culture is destroyed upon actually allowing government employees to wear hats, then how the hell is Quebec’s culture worth saving? If it’s a culture of petty bigotry and xenophobia, then it’s a culture that needs to go!

              • Mark W.

                You must be a Bloc supporter. I don’t often see a line of horse shit, historical revisionism and inability to face the truth unless its coming from fundies or ‘seperatists’.

                • northernTNT

                  Really horse shit, your level of language and anti-Quebec sentiment really say it all.

                • northernTNT

                  I’m not a Bloc supporter because they are pretty much as right wing as the Conservatives. I vote green. Provincially, I vote green or PQ, depending on which region of Canada I happen to be living in. The PQ originated with a social-democratic social project. This has been eroded through the years, but it has not completely been erased. The two other large parties are now splitting the right, whereas federally, Canadians are bitching that it’s the left that is divided. People are never happy with electoral results, but they are our democracy, and it’s all we’ve got right now. And right now, a majority of Quebecers and a majority of Canadians (surprisingly) are on side with this Charter. As for all the USA citizens in this discussion, I’d simply suggest they try living here for a while because distorting the case. I’ve spent half of my 50 years in Quebec and 10 in the USA. my other 25 years are spread between the ROC and 19 countries. So I think my grasp on reality is pretty solid. My family haven’t been koolaided by religious ideologies for 3 generations. In the 70s, I was taught by nuns, I know full well the ways people let religion affect their job performances. And there are tons of us who have experienced how fanatics twist their workplace, such as fanatic Christians in the USA who work in healthcare but refuse to practice abortion. There are tons of ways fanaticism affects job performance. Quebecers, as a population, dealt with this decades ago, and now have to deal with it again, so that Quebec does not become some interfaith melting pot resembling ROC and the USA. But hey, if ROC and USA are the culture choice you want to make in your life and all your fellow voters are in agreement with you, good for you.

                • JRB

                  Dude, seriously? Quebec receives more than double any other province in equalization payments (over $7 Billion dollars in other provinces’ tax money to prop up your crumbling infrastructure), at least 4 mayors resigned in the last year over corruption charges, you’ve got the largest gap in employment between newly immigrated and native born Citizens, and a government department threatened to fine an Italian restaurant for using the word “pasta” on its menu.

                  Don’t get me wrong, Quebec sure has some natural beauty and great historic sites but it’s almost laughably naive to hold it up as some shining beacon of how to do civilization right.

                • northernTNT

                  The French word for the spaghetti brethren in French is PÂTES. It’s not the Franco’s fault if the anglos copy the Italian word. I am 100% in favour of 101.
                  And I am not a dude…
                  And what does economic neo-liberalism have to do with this conversation?
                  -The federal government recruits immigrants from third world countres to prevent salaries from following capitalism’s rule supply and demand. Quebec has one of Canada’s lowest costs of living indexes, so the poorer and desperate for low wages the immigrant, the more likely they are to end up in Quebec.

                • JRB

                  It was an Italian Restaurant, why wouldn’t it list its items by their Italian name?!

                  (Side note – I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a large amount of this wonderful world of ours and have eaten at Italian Restaurants or Restaurants with Italian food items in a number of them. You know what they call pasta in every country with the Latin Alphabet (this includes France) I’ve been to? Pasta. You know why the call it that. Because it is one of most recognizable and standardized dishes the world over.

                  You want to talk fanatics pushing their minority view on people, let’s talk the government of Quebec not letting Italian restaurants call pasta pasta. (And just because you are exactly the type of person to miss the point, yes there are non-pasta noodle dishes with a variety of names all over the world. But Italian style pasta is called pasta every where I’ve been.))

                  And to clarify my point, Quebec is broke, broken, and corrupt. Your sneering contempt at the rest of Canada for not sharing the same cultural values of Quebec is laughably misplaced.

                • northernTNT

                  But sadly for you, not in French speaking countries. And if you think the fact that Quebecers are willing the fight corruption publicly with the same zeal that Quebecers fought religious interference in public life, that it means that Quebec is uniquely corrupted among western nations, I would say you are sorely mistaking. There are cultures which hide their dirty laundry and cultures not afraid to air them out and deal with them. You think the ROC and USA are less corrupt than Quebec? Ha! It’s just better hidden and protected.

                • John Sabotta

                  Oh no! not “some interfaith melting pot”! Somewhere, Pierre Laval is smiling. “”Travail, Famille, Patrie”, right. And of course you don’t believe in superstitous rubbish – you , I think, are all about the rational, simple, organic concept of the, cough, volkish community. (Sorry about the German word, but I know you understand.) Something pure, not like us vulger, plutocratic race and culture mixing Yanks or your fellow Canadians, who are so regrettably soft on things like tolerance and human rights

                  The Marshal shows the way, eh Mr. TNT?

                  ?

              • John Sabotta

                Could you explain exactly how the “anglos” attempted to “destroy French culture by imposing a heavy handed Catholic rule over affairs of state in Lower Canada, to become Quebec.” I mean, leaving aside how or why the Anglican British “forced” Catholic French Canadians to become, uh, Catholic, wouldn’t a Francophone Church and clergy be kind of a hindrance to destroying French culture? Oh, wait, these French, you say, married the Micmac, which must actually have made them more culturally French than all those French back in France, who were also forced to be Catholic, presumably by George III or something. Those Brits, they sure are insidious! Although the ignorance of history around here is painful, your contorted racialist chauvinism about the “anglos”, musty relic of sixties radicalism, ties you up into really stupid knots, Mr. TNT, and puts you in a class by yourself.

                As I seem to remember, the really noticeable aspect of jolly old traditional Quebec was it’s heartwarming sympathy for Vichy France during the Second World War. There’s tradition for you! And it’s a tradition that the Quebec independence movement has never quite abandoned, has it, with their often expressed desire that all those filthy Anglos, Asians, etc get the hell out of “the beautiful province”? Je me souviens!

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        How is a turban “in your face” and more than a baseball hat or a fedora? Or how is a skull cap being ostentatious? Or a hijab proselytizing? And how is a small cross not these proselytizing?

    • getz

      How is it not a religious issue when there are biases clearly being drawn down religious lines? These kind of biases are built right into a lot of popular superstitions that tell people they’re especially chosen by the gods/will receive lavish favorable treatment from them/will not be joined by people of their own faith. These kind of biases frequently play out in real life. If it’s a racial issue, then it’s dealing with the magic racial distinctions created by religions.

      It may not be entirely religious(technically, religion only refers to ways to misunderstand other actual phenomena), but there’s no reason to jump from “not just about religion” to “not a religious issue at all.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Size seems to be the major issue here, going by the illustrated examples. Can they wear a very small lapel pin with an atheist red A or a humanist happy human symbol? Too obtrusive? Okay, how about a teeny weeny red A or happy human pinky ring? Still too in-your-face? Alright, what about itsy bitsy red A or happy human ear studs? I mean close to microscopic. No?

    I’d like to see a non-believing government employee try this to see if any size of such expression of their god-freeness would be acceptable, but of course they might be risking their job or their good standing at work, so never mind.

    • AxeGrrl

      I’d like to see a non-believing government employee try this to see if any size of such expression of their god-freeness would be acceptable, but of course they might be risking their job or their good standing at work, so never mind.

      I’m an Ontario resident (right next door to Quebec) and I’ve expressed precisely what you have here, Richard. I would LOVE to see the issue of ‘atheist expression’ come up to test the ‘fairness’ of things……

      I am generally in opposition to this charter (as are most atheists I know personally) and it’s going to be reeeeeally interesting to see how this plays out ~ specifically, in the ‘how far is Quebec willing to go in order to “protect its identity?” regard. If Quebec has demonstrated anything in recent years, it’s how ‘protecting’ one’s cultural identity can fuel some pretty nasty xenophobia, imo.

      • northernTNT

        So which is most important, the ID of Quebec, as a small (8M) nation within a sea (347 M) of melting-pot anglos… or a few religious fanatics. If you answer fanatics than there is really nothing more to exchange here.

        • LizBert

          Because those are the only options possible…

          • northernTNT

            Without socio-culture self-defence mechanisms, the culture we cherish in Quebec would have been swallowed by North America’s megalomania. So no there are NOT only 2 options, there is a continuum of loss, a little loss, lots of loss or all lost. Self governed people have the right to decided what the future of that nation’s society will look like. If Quebecers feel that socially, the Canadian and USA models can be improved upon, why not? Why limit Quebec to look like the rest of the continent?

            • James Buchy

              The culture and language of Quebec will only disappear if the people let it happen. Draconian mechanisms to “protect” culture are ludicrous. Jewish language and culture survived many centuries of covert and overt attempts at destruction, including genocide, WITHOUT any real “self-defence mechanisms” at all. The Ukrainian race, language and culture survived Joseph Stalin’s best attempts at destruction, obviously with no protection mechanisms at all. If any culture gets “swallowed” by surrounding cultures in THIS day and age, then it obviously didn’t really exist to begin with.

              • northernTNT

                Money/international trade/military speak louder than cultural values. Indigenous cultures are disappearing all over the world. Cultures can only protect themselves if there is a concerted effort to protect it. There is no such thing as the “invisible hand” as crazy right wing people say that will protect the culture. It’s about a group of people, who democratically a government to represent their will, and protecting Quebec culture is the will of the people and is one of the main reasons the PQ was elected. PQ is about culture, Charest was anti-culture. Culture is a war of ideas, and you may well find yourself on the side that thinks culture is self sustaining, but history proves you wrong. Money/imperialism conquers all, and the only way to defend oneself is to collectively unite and legislate. That is the very nature of a democratic state.

                • James Buchy

                  Did the people vote IN the PQ or did they vote OUT the Liberals? It’s an important distinction, especially since the PQ are in a minority position. Every poll I have seen has shown that the people of Quebec consider jobs and the economy more important at this time. You also can’t compare primitive aboriginal cultures to the modern, sophisticated culture of Quebec. The examples I gave of 2 cultures surviving extreme violence and prejudice still stand.

                • James Buchy

                  I gave 2 examples of vibrant cultures that could not be destroyed by extreme brute force. Having said that, culture can be seen as a constant evolutionary process. French, English, German, Spanish, Italian and all other European cultures and languages are all evolved from the now dead Ancient Roman language and culture, either directly or thru stages. It’s a natural part of the human process for these things to change over time. The people of Scotland and Ireland rarely speak Gaelic in their day to day lives now. Are they any less Irish or Scottish? People living in communities along the French/German border often speak with the neighboring country’s language peppered into their dialect. That could evolve into an entirely new language.

                • northernTNT

                  Of course things change, best done through democratic processes, rather than military, such as Quebec’s peaceful “Révolution tranquille” which gave the boot to Catholicism and created a secular Quebec. The same social changes which booted freaked anglos enough for many to get out of Quebec. Montreal’s centre was revitalised and the Quebec now has the highest ratio of cultural production per capita, because Quebecers democratically desire that the government invest in culture, something that is done also in English Canada, to protect Canadian content against USA’s influence of cultural hegemoney (and remember I lived in the USA and loved it for 10 years), but the Quebec government invests much more than the other provinces. It’s Quebecers that want Quebecois culture, and democratically elect political representatives that work towards the flourishing of culture. Most Quebecers speak English and French and my mom, a unilingual anglo, moved to Quebec in the summer of 1970 (by marriage) and has lived there ever since, in English, with full services. Quebec is a rich culture and people like it that way. What is harrowing is when foreigners tell Quebecers that they are bigots for this practice.
                  Québécois French is quite different from France French, which is quite different from French in other countries. Also, the French spoken in Québec has nearly a dozen regional variations.
                  So, your point is?

                • James Buchy

                  My point??? You cannot “legislate” culture and you certainly can not protect a culture by imposing draconian laws against minorities. If the people like a rich culture then Quebec will [and does] have a rich culture. Nothing wrong with investing in culture, just like there is nothing wrong with investing in anything that improves the quality of life of the citizens. Do you have an example of any time in history where culture was legislated? Show me where the people of Germany legislated the German language. The English language evolved from German and influenced by Old Norse with a strong French influence following the Norman Conquest of 1066 and finally arriving at modern English around the 15 century. There was no legal or democratic process. Some day, both English and French may disappear in favor of another language.

                  I am curious as to why you seemed to ignore the Ukrainian and Jewish examples I gave earlier. I am Ukrainian so I have been exposed to Ukrainian language and culture as it exists in Canada. I heard much about Holodomor [Stalin's attempt at Ukrainian Genocide] so it is hard for me to be sympathetic about somebody needing to protect culture when there was nobody around to to save Ukrainian [and Jewish] culture…..and LIVES. The people are the culture, not language police.

        • Sean McCann

          How about the other nations yours supplanted? Why are their language rights not important?

          • northernTNT

            Yes and I’m part native on on dad’s side, 500 years ago, the Frenchies mixed with the Micmacs, who were an extremely peaceful nation who did not foresee that after a few non racist Frenchies, there’d be waves and waves of enslaving, cultural genociding, scalping anglos. Nope they never saw it coming. The Micmac experience of Europeans was entirely different from First Nations in Western ROC, who’s pain of cultural genocide through residential schools was nearly a success. The French that were here originally were not supported by the French royalty, and would not have survived without Micmac help. The Acadians and the Micmac were friends and allies, then the anglos came and everything went to shit, and the Micmac sided with the Acadians against the onslaught of Anglos. The concept of colonialism to the French was quite different than the concept of colonialism the anglos had. To the anglos, us Acadians were savages, just like the Métis.
            You want more history lessons? I got tons more but your attitude tells me it would be a waste of time.

            • Sean McCann

              “the anglos came and everything went to shit”
              That about sums up your historical outlook right there.

    • northernTNT

      A complete ban would be very radical, and merit condemnation from all sides. This is the opposite of a complete ban, it’s just asking fanatics to not be “in your face” (ostentatious). But hey, I know, subtleties are really difficult for anglo media.

      • IfAntEatersCouldFly

        A turban or a head scarf doesn’t strike me as being fanatical. Hell, I can’t even be sure immediately which religion, if any, it’s supposed to represent.

        On the other hand, Christians are usually just fine with a little cross. And I know immediately that a little cross represents Christianity, just as I would know a big cross represents Christianity. The charter is thus doing nothing to stop Christians proselytizing, while it stymies other religions’ efforts.

        • northernTNT

          Firstly most North American Muslims/Jews/Siks/etc DON’T wear religious garb/symbols. Those who do believe that the word and rules commanded by imaginary beings are more important than a democratically elected government. That is the very definition of fanatical. God over democratic government.

  • northernTNT

    This is a ridiculous misrepresentation of the situation. Quebec has had two major religious upheavals this century. First the Catholic Church was booted from all public institutions decades ago. A great many Quebecers, religious and non believers alike, value secularity to a high degree.
    But the previous government did as the rest of Canada did in the last two decades and in order to encourage cheap labour immigrants to move to Canada, the Liberal Party of Quebec partook of a vast religious fanatacism accomodation. Employees of the government have a dress code and an work environment ethic which traditionally was religiously neutral. Religious accomodationism to religious fanaticism (not all Jews wear Kippas, not all Muslims veil themselves, not all Sikhs turban themselves) is a novel principal which gives priority to faith in imaginary beings OVER compliance with civilised dress codes (and work environments) that all public servants must comply with in any country.
    Several countries in Europe have seen a power take-over by religious fanaticism and the government of Quebec is accomplishing two things with the Charter: firstly it is repealing the recent accommodations to fanaticism, and secondly, it is being proactive about preventing the religious wars going on in Europe.
    We all should be applauding this move to ensure the neutrality of appearance of public servants. We all have to obey dress codes, if we don’t like the rules, we can take a different job, but religious fanaticism must not be allowed to overtake our civil and neutral public sector. The rest of Canada still funds Catholic schools and Muslims are making great headway across the country to gain funding for Muslim schools, as Muslim males don’t like it when their young girls are shoulder to shoulder with boys in the school, and they want our governments to accommodate this.
    This charter is fundamentally an excellent idea, and it should go farther and also remove the cross from the National Assembly, and keep it in a historical tribute room/area, along with all other historical artefacts.

    • Autumn Treadwell

      “Several countries in Europe have seen a power take-over by religious fanaticism ” Oh, do share! Which countries in Europe have been taken over by religious fanatics? Was it done as an armed coup?

    • Andrew

      Let me ask you though, in what sense is the public sector neutral if you create a situation where one is forced to choose between their religious convictions and their ability to be employed? That seems blatantly discriminatory when you consider that religious obligations vary wildly between religions. It is categorically different to ask a person to remove their gaudy crucifix from their neck and to a Sikh man or Muslim woman to remove their head covering.

      • northernTNT

        If you insist on wearing your baseball cap 16 hours a day then you will not have a teaching job, or a hospital job, or a government office job. I don’t see any reason why religious fanaticism changes that. There are plenty of faithers who are not so ridiculous.

        • Andrew

          You should move to Quebec, your appalling ignorance on the realities of minority religious practices would be right at home here.

          • northernTNT

            You’re funny, and more ignorant than you realise. I’m an anglo-Quebecer. I was taught by Catholic Nuns/principals in the 70s/80s

  • invivoMark

    I don’t see any way to interpret this such that it isn’t xenophobia. The only tangible result will be that specific groups of people are excluded from government work. That’s NOT the sort of thing that a modern Western country (nor any other country) should ever strive for! It almost wants me to break Godwin in this thread.

    • northernTNT

      Government employ has employment filters, a certain education, and a willingness to obey the dress code, as a teacher… having a clear criminal recod… nothing wild here. If you can’t hack it, then you do belong in the public service.

      • invivoMark

        You’re factually wrong, and you’ve missed the point.

        You’re factually wrong because there are no such requirements for education level, criminal record, etc. across the board for government employment. Government filters potential employees on the basis of qualifications, just like any company would. But for many government jobs, there are no strict, non-negotiable requirements.

        And you’ve missed the point, because those qualities you mention – education level, clear criminal record, etc. – aren’t in any way comparable or parallel to religious beliefs. For one thing, those things can actually impact one’s fitness of performing a job. Religious beliefs don’t (unless you’re a Catholic gynecologist), and neither does wearing religious garb on the job.

        Furthermore, it’s one thing to expect people to put in the effort to get an education and to have the willpower to not commit crime. Those are things of which just about anyone is capable. It’s something totally different to ask someone to change their beliefs. If the tables were flipped and it was atheists who weren’t allowed a job in government, you’d be going gorilla-shit about how unfair that is. The regulations in question are equally unfair, just toward different groups.

        • northernTNT

          Someone who believes so strongly in sharia is someone I don’t want within 5 feet of any youth teaching institution. Why, because Sharia is fundamentally mysogynistic. YES, a Sharia fanatic is incompetent to teach western children, girls and boys. If a Musliim is a moderate and does not believe in mandatory sexist body coverings and Sharia, then fine, they are moderate and I would let them near children.
          Any person who thinks their imaginary god stands taller than our elected government does not deserve to be a public servant. That is the problem we see in the USA government, people who despise government, working in government, just because of a paycheck. It is a disgrace.

          • invivoMark

            I notice that you have a habit of using charged language very freely and with fluid definitions, in order to make it seem like you have a good point when you don’t.

            For instance, your use of the word “fanatic.” Elsewhere in these threads, I’ve noticed you’ve taken to defining as a “fanatic” anyone who wears a hat for their religion. That’s a terrible delineation. There are tons of “moderate” Muslims who wear turbans, and there are millions of Southern Baptists who don’t.

            And I have to break it to you, for anyone who actually believes in a mainstream Judeo-Christian religion, God does stand taller than any elected government. That’s sort of the whole point of a god.

            Frankly, while I disagree with their beliefs, I’m confident that most of those people are plenty qualified to stamp my papers at the DMV. It’s very petty of you to disagree, not to mention intolerant.

            • northernTNT

              Nope, you’ve misread me. I stated that a fanatic is someone who places the imaginary commands of imaginary beings ABOVE their elected government’s policies. There’s a difference. There are millions of religious folks who DO NOT place their gods commands OVER their employers’. That makes both groups different, the first fanatical, the second moderate. If you fail to comprehend the difference that is no fault of my own for I’ve explained the position plenty.

              I want no exemptions for religiosity, giving them exemptions strengthens their advancing position within MY secular culture and I will not stand for it nor for your religious apologetics. People have the right to defend culture. Only a fool would prefer being trampled by all new arrivals.

              • invivoMark

                Your posts continue to become more and more blatantly bigoted.

                Yeah, you go ahead and do what it takes to keep from being “trampled” by Sikhs in Quebec. Meanwhile, Arizona will “protect their culture” by setting up checkpoints and forcibly removing Mexican immigrants; England will “protect their culture” by vandalizing and firebombing Mosques; and Poland in 1946 will “protect their culture” by killing Jews and driving them out of the country.

                “Protecting culture” is a bullshit excuse to target and abuse minorities.

              • AxeGrrl

                I stated that a fanatic is someone who places the imaginary commands of imaginary beings ABOVE their elected government’s policies.

                And if the issue were people doing their jobs (like Federal marriage commissioners refusing to marry same sex couples based on their faith), you’d be right. But this ISN’T about that.

                We’re not talking about religious employees refusing to do some aspect of their job because of their religious beliefs, we’re merely talking unobstructive pieces of apparel.

                So, please, tell us how a person who does their job, who does everything that their job demands/entails fits the description of “fanatic”.

  • Laurent Lambert

    I live in Quebec and I don’t like it one bit. I would like the employees in the public sector to treat everyone equally. I really don’t care what they wear or anything else about them. As long as your religious views do not come into the equation when you are providing a government service, that is all I want.

  • Emily Fleming

    As a Québecer (just across the river from Montréal) and an atheist, I strongly oppose this measure. The government does not have the right to tell people what kind of hat or jewelry to wear*. I’m okay with “enacting laws that make sure genitalia are covered” (because really, who wants to sit in a public chair that someone else might have leaked on), but beyond that, so long as people aren’t freezing and are able to do their jobs correctly, I am happy.

    I’m also an anglo. Marois’s government being bigots is not news to anyone who isn’t a francophone living in a very small francophone town.

    The CBC reported that at least one Ontario hospital is recruiting staff with a poster of a woman wearing a (frankly kickass, I’d wear it, it’s gorgeous) hijab and the slogan “We don’t care what’s on your head, just what’s in it.” It hurts me to my very Springfieldian soul to see Shelbyville getting something right.*

    For the same reasons as I find laws in countries which force humans to wear concealing clothing abhorrent, I find laws that would take away a human’s ability to choose to wear those clothes abhorrent. It is not my government’s business what I wear to work, provided I’m not wearing anything illegal** (hate speech, for instance) or unsafe.

    *I do actually quite like Ontario. But SHELBYVILLE, really.
    ** Actually, I work from home, so it’s nobody’s business at all. Even my customers don’t see me. But the point stands.

    • Emily Fleming

      (I do have friends in public service who are considering wearing scarves that cover the same amount of head as a hijab to work; they’re not Muslim, so it’s not a religious symbol for them. They’re considering wearing them in order to highlight what a stupid thing this is.

      Meanwhile, the bridges into Montreal are falling apart, the waits in emergency rooms are long (because staff are going to Ontario, or Alberta, or the States, or wherever, and the ones who stay are chronically overworked), schools are chronically underfunded.

      But hey, at least my teachers and doctors aren’t wearing hats, my francophone neighbours can’t give their kids the same advantage that anglo kids get (being taught the non-mother-tongue from a very young age, instead of starting in high school, is a HUGE bonus to actually becoming fluent), and I don’t have to worry about food having Italian names in Italian restaurants. Priorities!

    • northernTNT

      Sheesh, do you not have a dress code where you work? Why do you feel fanaticism overrides government policy????

      • Emily Fleming

        I don’t, actually. In the past, when I have had a dress code, it has specified a minimum level of clothing; adding more (in the form of a hat, scarf, jewelry) would not have violated it provided that it wasn’t unsafe (if operating machinery, nothing dangly, that kind of thing.)

        Also, for the record, I think everyone should be allowed to wear hats, regardless of religious/cultural/whatever.

        • northernTNT

          Well then your issue is not this charter but the very concept of a dress code at all. Don’t make exceptions for religious fanatics.

          • JRB

            Your insistence on labeling anyone who wears clothing or jewelry associated with a religion a “fanatic” is just as disingenuous as when people label any outspoken atheist “militant”.

            A good rule of thumb is if you have to use hyperbole that bends the use of words passed any meaningful definition, you’re point probably isn’t as strong as you think it is.

            • northernTNT

              If you’d been paying attention you would have noticed that I call them fanatics when unlike their fellow faithers they guilttrip institutions into bending over backwards to meet their demands. Wear the the garb when no law needs to be bent fine, but when they ask an entire government to bend over backwards for them, as been happening for just over a decade in Quebec with “accommodements raisonnables”, that is when I call them fanatics. Do you want to take a jab at counting the number of Jews you know who function neutrally at work compared to the number who insist on following their imaginary friend rules NO MATTER WHAT. I bet you’ll find a majority of your faither friends/acquaintances you can consider moderate, only a few of them are insisting that our culture bend over backwards to accommodate their fanaticism.

              • JRB

                Your hyperbole is so out of control I’m having trouble deciding how to even discuss this with you.

                Asking to wear a hat (regardless of reason) that doesn’t interfere with your job function is hardly demanding institutions “bend over backwards”. Hell, I can’t even bring my self to describe it as a minor inconvenience for the institutions.

                To reappropriate some of T.J.’s words:
                “it does me no injury for my [tax clerk] to [wear a silly hat]. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks
                my leg.”

                And to clarify:
                - I am a staunch atheist who thinks the world would be a better place if religion were to disappear late today.
                - I am Canadian.
                - I work in a provincial government office (although not directly an employee of said government).
                - I do believe in dress codes (you can tell it’s casual Friday because I’m not wearing the suit jacket over my shirt and tie.)
                - The woman in the office next to me is wearing a delightful fascinator on her head (for non-religious reasons) and no one has yelled at her about how in Canadian government workplaces everyone takes off their head gear. Considering I am her supervisor, I would find it very odd if they had.
                - This morning I’ve seen no less than 3 provincial government employees walk by my office wearing various forms of religious headgear . As far as I can tell, this has not caused anyone to spontaneously convert nor has anything broken from the tremendous strain all this bending over backwards must be putting on the institution.

                • AxeGrrl

                  FAB post, JRB :)

          • ecolt

            So by definition a Sikh with a turban or a Muslim woman in hijab is fanatical to you, but a Christian wearing a cross isn’t? Just because the government decided? Or because a necklace isn’t as big? Logic, try it.

  • The Other Weirdo

    This is a province that has a town named Saint Louis-du-Ha! Ha!. That’s all you really need to know.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Oh, and certain religious symbols
    — specifically the crucifix and Christmas trees — are permitted as “a
    symbol of Quebec’s cultural heritage.” The stated goal is “religious
    neutrality”… but clearly some religions are considered more neutral than
    others.

    It was surprisingly thoughtful of them to include a pagan symbol which is specifically condemned by the Bible (Jeremiah 10:1-5)

  • Kurt Loader

    Ban all religious symbols in public service, it’s quite fair and rather simple.

  • Autumn Treadwell

    So, what if I have cancer, and want to wear a turban because all of my hair has fallen out? What if I’m a Goth and I’m wearing a cross just because it goes with my outfit, but I’m actually an atheist? What if I’m wearing big crescent moon earrings because they look FABULOUS on me – not because I’m a Muslim? What if I’m wearing a wig – am I an observant Jew or someone that’s balding? If I wear a big A-like pendant, am I showing that I’m a Trekker or showing that I’m an Atheist? Who is to say what I mean by it?

    I can see not allowing a government worker to cover his or her face FOR ANY REASON. Not for religious reasons, not for medical reasons. There is a practical reason for not covering the face: the vast majority of people feel they need to be able to see faces and facial expressions of those they are talking to. But the other restrictions? Ridiculous.

    I wish I could share a photo someone posted to a Facebook group I’m on, for old photos from my small home town in the Bible Belt. It’s from the 1940s, and it’s a large gathering outside. And almost every woman in the photo has her hair covered with a kerchief. They all look like a bunch of Bosnian Muslims.

    • AxeGrrl

      I can see not allowing a government worker to cover his or her face FOR ANY REASON. Not for religious reasons, not for medical reasons. There is a practical reason for not covering the face: the vast majority of people feel they need to be able to see faces and facial expressions of those they are talking to. But the other restrictions? Ridiculous.

      I completely agree.

    • Emily Fleming

      I have several friends who are in the public service who are considering wearing things that are generally associated with various religions, and if anyone comments, just to say “isn’t this scarf/pendant/whatever FABULOUS?!”

    • northernTNT

      If fanatics don’t need to comply with dresscodes, then nobody should. Great, I love wearing hoodies, they are really my favourite gear, for real. But I’m a teacher, and I comply with my employer’s dress code, and in this way I show a neutral representation to my students.

      • k

        Are Muslim or Sikh teachers wearing hoodies? Are they allowed to wear hoodies? No? Then what is the problem?

        • northernTNT

          I like hoodies and were head gear equally legal for all citizens, I would wear a hoodie. But I can’t you see, because normal sentient people obey laws, whereas religious fanatics require that we all bend over backwards for their superstitions. If head gear is to be legalised in the performance of duties while being a public servant, then lets change the bloody law, but don’t come crying about the Charter being wrong when in fact it’s all about you thinking that head gear and proselytising symbols are just fine. When you go into your government office, does your agent wear a pin advertising his/her political allegiance?

          I find it terribly depressing that on an atheist blog such as this, there are so many religious apologists. It’s frankly disgraceful. Why bother even calling oneself atheist on talking about if publicly if it means nothing to you?

          • allein

            How is not wearing a baseball cap while someone else wears a religious headscarf causing you to “bend over backwards” for that person?

            My being an atheist means I don’t believe in gods. It doesn’t mean I’m out to suppress anyone else’s belief or religious expression in their clothing choices. As long as they’re not trying to force the rest of society to follow suit, I really don’t care.

            • northernTNT

              I love wearing hoodies and have many friends who’d wear their baseball cap all day long. WE CAN’T. Because our government employer prevents such attire… unless we could guil-trip the government into granting us special exemptions to accommodate our fanaticism. But of course, since we’re not fanatics, we abide by our employer’s dress code. Gee, go figure!

          • Sean McCann

            The law you are discussing is not a law yet. It is just part of your “pur laine” fantasy world-to-be.

            • northernTNT

              And your point is? Do you think you’re magically informing of a some big mystery? Of course I know it’s a proposed Charter. And I don’t live in a pure laine (laine est au féminin), but I myself am an anglo Quebecer on my mom’s side, and my mother is a unilingual anglo living in Montreal, who also approves of the Charter.
              So maybe you should try bringing reasonable arguments to the discussion instead of constantly tossing out ad hominems. Look it up.

              • Sean McCann

                Well, we will see what happens. I think this Charter will fail at some stage, but maybe it was never intended to succeed anyhow.

          • Kitty

            Muslim or Sikh teachers ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR HOODIES OR BASEBALL CAPS EITHER. Yeesh. Like it or not, baseball caps and hoodies are considered “casual wear” and so most work places do not let their employees wear them. These are NOT equivalent to headscarves or turbans, which are NOT casual wear but can be expressions of faith. Stop equating the two.

            And in what world is a dress code at work considered a “law”?

            • northernTNT

              Nope, not about casualness but the mere definition of head gear, it could be a 20000$ Channel hat, and it would still come off. The fact is, in North America and most of Europe, it is the custom that all people remove their head gear upon entering buildings. It’s either everyone can or everyone can’t. Wealth and religion should know no exceptions.

      • ahermit

        I’ve been known to wear a wool cap around the office to protect my bald old head from the air conditioner. No one’s complained…

        How does a Yarmulke affect the ability of a tax assessor to do his job?

  • LesterBallard

    Hooray for freedom of religion. I mean, freedom of my religion, of course.

  • ZenDruid

    Dear Quebec,

    Can I wear a roach clip on a string around my neck? Religion, y’know….

    • northernTNT

      As long as it’s not ostentatious.

  • Andrew

    I think this whole secular charter was designed to elicit the exact reaction it has been getting: namely uniting the Rest of Canada against the separatist PQ government, which plays exactly into the hands of the separatists. Among the PQ’s primary base of rural Quebeckers who never encounter visible minorities anyway (basically anyone living outside of Montreal), this provision is hugely popular. I don’t think that it’s a huge stretch to connect the comments that the former PQ leader Parizeau made when they narrowly lost the 95 referendum, blaming “money and the ethnic vote” for the loss.

    One of Mme. Marois’ current advisors, who was also Parizeau’s speechwriter at the time, wrote a book in 2000 which specifically advocated using ridiculous issues to cause outrage in the RoC to unite Quebeckers against them and thereby promote sovereignty. The PQ’s raison d’être is to promote Quebec Nationalism, after all.

    As a Montrealler living here for the past 8 years, I firmly believe that this charter won’t go anywhere because of its blatant violations of both Quebec and Canada’s charters of rights and freedoms. But in the meantime, the PQ is scoring huge points among xenophobic white quebeckers (which may bring them to a future majority government) and stoking racial animus among visible minorities. These divisive politics are unworthy of anyone who believe in universal human rights, and I hope we in the secular community will recognize this xenophobic legislation for what it is.

    • northernTNT

      Polls are showing between 45% and 55% support within ROC, so your point is pretty moot.

      • Andrew

        When was the last time the three Federalist parties were united in anything?

    • ahermit

      I think you nailed it here; this looks like a cynical political stunt designed to reinforce the “us vs them” separatist narrative.

  • anon 101

    Actually if you allow religious symbols at all the intrusivity is a pretty good measure. The star of David or the Cresent are clearly religious symbols that are used. The restriction to these symbols is not religious discrimination.

  • onamission5

    So basically, if your religion requires you to wear head covering of any kind, you’re going to be out of a job.

    Yeah that sounds very tolerant.

    • northernTNT

      Funny how this is not an issue for non fanatics… Either head coverings are legal for ALL people or they’re not. Either symbols are ok from all topics, for all, or they’re not. Why do fanatics get exemptions?

      • onamission5

        I’m just going to quote Emily Fleming from below, because ze sums up this whole “fanatic” part you keep harping on quite succinctly:

        For you, based on my understanding of what you’ve written, a fantatic is someone who wears a hat. For me, a fanatic is someone who tries to force everyone else to wear hats.

        • northernTNT

          Nope, nothing to do with hats. A fanatic is anybody who places imaginary beings before government.

          • Ifncity

            Government is a construct, a sort of imaginary being.

            • northernTNT

              Well that’s just great if you don’t voter. Government is an institution I have a say in, at least in part. It is the institution of the people, for the people, by the people. If you want to compare that to religions… well… go right ahead.

              • ahermit

                Interestingly this bill allows the people you actually vote for to wear whatever they like. MNA’s, the most visible of all public employees, are exempt from the rule.

      • ahermit

        I haven’t heard anyone suggesting that head coverings are forbidden for non-religious people…

        You know you’re the closest thing to a fanatic I’ve seen in this discussion…someone who is so upset that other people might have different beliefs that you can’t tolerate their presence in public service.

        • northernTNT

          Do you actually live on this continent? Have you ever been served by a government employee wearing a hoodie, taught by a teacher wearing a hat, treated by a doctor toting a foot-high cross? No and absolutely no. If you have not noticed this in your every day life than you have not been looking. In Western civilisation, when one enters a public building, one removes head gear. Sure there is an exception here and there… but who cares. Maybe you are too young to have experienced real life yet, in the corporate/government/education/health world? If your doc came to your bedside wearing a gangsta hoodie, I guess you’d think that’s just fine?
          All I want is no accommodation of religious fanaticism. Leave the workplace neutral. Keep religion in your own life. That is a secular standard. Now if you don’t even agree that a society such as Canada/Quebec should be secular… then we really have nothing more to say.
          And well, you’re a hermit, so you don’t care anyways.

          • ahermit

            You must be more of a hermit than I am if you’ve never been served by someone wearing some kind of head covering. I myself occasionally wear a wool cap to protect my ageing bald head from the freezing effects of the office air conditioner (yes I am old enough to have experienced quite a lot of life, thank you) and no one has ever complained.

            Neutrality in the workplace would mean making space for everyone, not creating an environment which excludes selected minorities.

            I no more want to live in a society which forbids religious expression than in one which requires it. Both those options are repressive and contrary to secular values.

            • northernTNT

              Maybe you missed some of my posts… I have two government jobs, teaching and tourism. So no hermit life not quite Mr self proclaimed hermit.

              • ahermit

                And over the past 4 decades I have had jobs in the service industry, health care and construction. Some of those actually required the wearing of some kind of headgear….none of them prohibited it. I’ve worked with people from all kinds of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds and unlike you I have embraced and enjoyed and even learned from that diversity instead of running in fear from it.

                Now, do you actually have an intelligent response to any of the arguments I’ve made or are you content to play silly word games with my semi-ironical pseudonym and make poor guesses about my age and experience? Because if that’s all you’ve got I’m done wasting my time with you. But thanks for playing…

                • northernTNT

                  Wow, are you even able to not lie through your teeth and misrepresent other people’s position? I do no running, I face and debate and fight for the society I want to live in. As for your “government” job what you are telling me is you were allowed to wear hoodies and baseball caps while you were serving the public? Yea right. tell me more lies.

                • ahermit

                  Putting words in my mouth makes you the liar. So far you haven’t responded to anything I’ve actually said, have you?

                  And if the society you want to live in is one where people can be forced by government fiat to conform to a particular belief system or face the loss of a career that makes you a small minded bigoted little coward as far as I’m concerned. Your irrational fear of hats is no reason to punish people from different backgrounds.

                • northernTNT

                  The people such as yourself using ad hominems, it reflects all back onto you. I have no fear of hats, as I said, I’d love to wear one myself. But I’m not allowed to in either of my two government positions. So again you lied and misrepresented by words. I love hats. But dresscodes in North America that you remove your headgear when you enter a building. Of course there are uncivilised folks who know nothing about nothing and who even wear a baseball cap into a classroom. But most teachers rightly tell the student to take off their head gear.
                  But of course it’s not just head gear. We’re not allowed to wear political buttons either.
                  Hermit, this is my last response to you because you ad hominem, lie, misrepresent. Discussion with you is not worthwhile.
                  I’m not working towards an interfaith society but a secular one, there is a difference. Good luck in the rest of your hermit life.

                • JRB

                  I’m sorry (not really), but people misidentifying ad hominems is one of my pet peeves.

                  Saying “you are a small minded-bigoted coward and therefor your ideas are wrong” is an ad hominem.

                  Engaging someones ideas and then adding “these ideas you are presenting make you a small-minded bigoted coward,” may be name calling but it is not an ad hominem.

                  In this particular case, at no point does ahermit say he is dismissing your ideas because you are a cowardly, small-minded bigot. Instead, he is clearly engaging your ideas, showing why he believes them to be wrong AND THEN calling you a cowardly, small-minded bigot because you hold such cowardly, small-minded, and bigoted ideas.

                • northernTNT

                  In fact no, all throughout his discourse we can see the opposite. BECAUSE I don’t have the same opinion as him, I am a coward bigot. Ad hominem needs not be preceded by emptiness. Ad hominem is the very fact of letting your intellect slip into the dumpster and switching to personal attacks when your “argument” fails to win.

                • JRB

                  No, an Argumentum
                  ad hominem is a “logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker’s
                  argument by attacking the speaker INSTEAD of addressing the argument.” [Emphasis mine]

                  Since ahermit is both addressing your argument AND insulting you, he is not committing the ad hominem fallacy.

                  Here’s the thing: you are bad at language. (And no, this isn’t an ad hominem either. I’m not insulting you, I’m stating a fact.) The reason not a single other person on this thread has backed up a single one of your arguments is because they all depend on you using words in ways that defy those words definitions. Fanatic, Proselytize, Ad Hominem. You’ve been called out repeatedly by at least half a dozen people for misusing these words and instead of bothering to reconsider your word choice, you’ve instead insisted on inventing your own definitions/interpretations of these words — even though your definitions/interpretations have nothing to do with the way these words are used in reality.

                  If you need an example, the comment I am replying to is a great one. I point out that you used ad hominem wrong (with examples and everything) and you reply by making up a definition that I have to assume you pulled out of your ass because it has almost nothing to do with the actual definition of the concept.

                  Seriously, your attacks on the English language are almost as offensive on your attacks on an inclusive and secular world.

                • northernTNT

                  Your insistence on “instead” is assuming he was arguing in good faith to begin with, which he did not demonstrate. So the ad hominem comes to mind first, then the speaker covers his ass by throwing in a couple of moot points just to look good.
                  As for ups and downs… you’ll notice I’m one of the only people in this discussion who have large first hand knowledge of Quebec politics and when I read misinformed people making misinformed arguments about a topic they know little about, well yeah, I’ll seem unpopular to some. I was raised in and English home but was schooled in French up until my masters degree… the way I speak and debate is a French way, and sure, it’ll give a different style than people are used to. But I take pride in not calling people names, and people who sink to that level when they are in error are really not worthy of respect for they give none.
                  Fanatic, just like the word traitor, is entirely dependent on the frame of reference the person is using. Most people don’t feel comfortable using the word fanatic unless someone is blowing something up before they are shackled by PCness, I am not. Anyone who places Church before government is a fanatic in my book, and the fact that you disagree with that may be worthy of a debate, but it’s not worthy of name calling.
                  As to my “attacks on the English language”, now you’re sounding like a grammar nazi… rolls eyes. I really don’t give a hoot that you dislike my style of discourse. My writing styles gets me good reporting and writing contracts and got me A grades in 3 colleges and 3 universities (1 each in English). So your opinion of my use of your language is relatively low on my scale of important things in life.
                  Here you are twisting the debate in a million different directions, instead of simply recognising that as a multi-ethnic travelled culture-loving educated atheistic person, my opinion is no less valid than any of your low-brow brethren on this forum. We are allowed to have different opinions and that does not make us asses or bigots.
                  I’ve not commented on this blog much before, but the misinformation was so dreadful and omnipresent that I can not hold myself back, I hate misinformation and foreigner attacks on culture. It’s my country, my province, and I damn well can desire to shape it as my values desire, and activate myself and those around me in that direction. If atheists in the rest of North America are still too indoctrinated to step out of religious culture into secular culture, I see no argument there for Quebecers to stick to Medieval ways of thinking. Secular states are the future, not inter-multi-faith states.

                • JRB

                  Did you even read what I wrote:

                  1. if you don’t think ahermit was every arguing with you in good faith, accuse him of that. Don’t mislabel it an ad hominem. [And I just went back and re-read the exchange and if you can't see how ahermit did engage your points in a meaningful way and asked you two questions directly related to your arguement that you failed to answer, you might be more of a lost cause than I realized.]

                  2. You see where I said your biggest problem is you insist on making up your own definition of words? You did it again in your very reply to that comment when you once again used a definition of fanatic that *literally* no one else in the world uses.

                  3. By attack on English Language, I wasn’t talking about your grammar. (I’m not exactly number 1 in that category either.) I was talking about your insistence that you get to use words to mean things regardless of what the actually mean.

                  4. The fact that you have an opinion doesn’t make you a bigot. The fact that your opinions contains “obtuse or narrow-minded intolerance, especially of other races or religions” is why I think you’re a bigot. (And once again, you tried to avoid someone argument by redefining words to mean things that they don’t mean.)

                  5. If your goal in commenting here was to correct misinformation, you have failed terribly. None of your comments contained any facts that weren’t present in the original link or summary. What your comments did have were a lot of empty bluster and poorly worded spin to try and gin up support for a piece of bigoted and harmful legislation.

                  7. And you’re more than welcome to put as low a priority on my opinions on you as you like. I’m just saying, if you want to avoid looking like a nitwit on public forms you might want to brush up on those written communication skills.

                • northernTNT

                  I’m not going to address your personal issues, but only the socio-political content. I am against religions, absolutely, But there is not an inch of racism in me, and therefore to call me bigot is invalid and reveals that you and others also practice the art of twisting the definitions of words (which you chide me over, right). I am myself probably more multi-racial than many commenters here. And I am certainly not as narrow minded as all the folks that say Quebecers are bigoted for the mere fact of choosing Quebecois culture over ROC and USA”s religion of multiculturalism. That is bigoted against Quebecers. But nooooooo, you think Quebecers are wrong for wanting a secular nation (because you have no idea what it means really to be secular, you seem to think it means multi-faith). I have heard this poorly thought out attack time and again. Not a single person here can make a case for why some notion of multifculturalism and mult–inter-faith makes for a better society than a community which has a set of values that are common to the masses and can plan a society around that. Why do you think ROC and Canada are such a-cultural melting pots. If a nation chooses “multi-culturalism”, so be it, may it be the democratic choice of that nation. But there exists no moral imperative to wish such a culture on all humans, that is ridiculous, and outsiders insisting that each and every nation be “multicultural” is cultural imperialism, and imperialism is usually done by bigoted people.

                • ahermit

                  There you go misusing language again. Bigotry doesn’t have to mean racism; in this case you are being bigoted against people of different beliefs. I may not agree with those beliefs either but unlike you I can’t support denying people opportunities in life simply because I don’t share their religious beliefs.

                  And that’s what this bill does; it makes certain identifiable groups of people into second class citizens who are denied the opportunity to fully participate in their community.

                • kaydenpat

                  But Canada is a multicultural country, and proudly so. I grew up there and still have family members there. My position is if you want to ban people from wearing religious symbols/garments, the ban should be across the board, with no exceptions.

                • ahermit

                  Don’t call me a liar and then whine about ad hominem you miserable little shit.

                  Most of us who aren’t hidebound bigots understand how an open secular democratic society works and can cope with a little variety. I’d hate to live in the kind of grim intolerant homogenic whitebread world you’re advocating.

    • primenumbers

      No, only out of a government job. Or of course, you could choose a different belief system.

      • ahermit

        So, change your belief system or be officially excluded from participation in public service? This sounds like a free democratic society to you?

        • primenumbers

          Why as me? What the PQ are referring to as “secularism” isn’t secularism as we know it, but thinly disguised bigotry against minority religious groups.

          • ahermit

            I misunderstood the intent of your comment. My apologies.

            • primenumbers

              NP

  • northernTNT

    Two things need to be set straight in this discussion.
    One- The author says the law distinguishes Christianity from other faiths, it does not.
    Two-All the people commenting vaguely about nonsense dresscodes but who do not have experience with dresscodes in real life should abstain, because they just bring irrelevant points to the discussion. The Charter is limited to employees of the Quebec Government, who follow quite strict dress codes and workspace ethics. Of course we’d all like to wear whatever we damn well please to work, that is not the point. The point is do religious fanatics (as defined by anyone placing imaginary beings’ rules above government rules) get special favours from government, nothing more.

    • primenumbers

      The law does not indeed name Christianity as an exception, however the exceptions allowed – crosses in the assembly and atop Montreal, Christmas trees are all Christian.

      There are plenty of areas in Quebec where a full, fair and proper secularism is needed – like parochial schools for instance, but that is left un-addressed by this bill. See here: http://canadianatheist.com/2013/09/06/quebec-teachers-get-it-right/

      • northernTNT

        OMG, the Charter does not address landscapes and architecture!!!!!!!
        It’s government employee dresscodes and workplaces, where crosses on walls ARE being removed (EXCEPT the one in the National Assembly, which most everyone here agrees should be removed and placed in a historical hallway somewhere as a reference to the past.
        Think mate, think. Don’t swallow the Koolaid of misinformation.

        • primenumbers

          Proper secular principles would be welcomed by practically all. But what he PQ are after is bigotry against minority religions under the guise of pseudo-secularism that exempts as much religion as it bans.

          • northernTNT

            Nope, it’s even handed “bigotry” against all religions equally. Please inform yourself instead of parroting misinformation. The PQ was the original secular party on the entire continent. The PQ is born of intellectualism and social-democratic values that were cherished in Scandinavia decades ago. Everyone cries for secularism, but as soon as a political party applies people cry fowl. Some people just hate politics no matter what decision the politicians make, that is dogmatism and it’s not healthy.

            • primenumbers

              If it wasn’t about bigotry and headgear they’d stop funding religious schools. If it wasn’t about protecting Christianity, those crosses would go.

              • northernTNT

                That’s just the point! Quebec was the first to remove church from the educational system. Sheesh. The ROC continues to fund Catholicism before they’re afraid of the PC political backlash. Now Muslims want publicly funded schools too! The ROC is headed in the opposite direction. It will be a total no-culture take-over. This is a conversation about a law regarding dresscode and workplace neutrality. The only cross left will be the NA one, all others will be gone. And that one should go on a historic/museum hallway, so that people can view and remember all the nastiness that was done in Quebec by the Catholic Church. Remember in order to never repeat.

                • primenumbers

                  And Quebec uses public funds on a bunch of parochial schools.

      • Emily Fleming

        Other exemptions (I’m guessing, as I haven’t heard different; I’d appreciate links if I’m wrong) include government offices being closed on Christian holidays, and streets being closed to celebrate a Catholic saint’s feast day (Montreal’s St-Patrick’s Day Parade is huge!), thereby making it difficult for the rest of us to get to work.

        • primenumbers

          And no doubt John the Baptist day will stay as John the Baptist day and not get a secular name.

          • Emily Fleming

            Actually, I think the government is the only entity that doesn’t call it St-Jean-Baptiste. It’s la Fête Nationale.

  • Kitty

    Oh man, Quebec is just driving me up the wall. Much of Canada is not on board with this, including (at the very least) a lot of people from Montreal. This isn’t even an effective way to create a “secular” state, you’re just banning certain ways of dressing. If I was a public employee, and this law made it through the courts (which it won’t), I would show up to work in a different religious symbol every day. It’s ridiculous. A lot of people are arguing for it because it “protects children”, or because it keeps the police “neutral” – excuse me, but how is hiding the culture, philosophy, and way of life of a significant portion of the world protecting children? And how does enforcing a dress code stop a prejudiced cop from treating someone of an opposing religion wrongly?

    Just .. so annoyed.

    • Nikita

      They even said a woman in a hijab working at a daycare would “incite” children to practice her religion.

      The blatant racism is nauseating and has many of us outraged.

  • Renshia

    it’s a good start.

  • Lorne Dmitruk

    So I’m guessing wearing FSM head gear is out of the question also.

    I think the PQ will not get the support from opposition party members they need to pass the bill. If it does pass it probably face a court challenge fairly quickly.

  • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ Yǒuhǎo Huǒ Māo

    So the only form of religious garb allowed are the ones that Protestant Christians would wear.

    I have never, in my life, seen a Muslim woman wearing star and crescent earrings or a Jewish person wearing a Star of David ring.

    • allein

      I have seen Star of David necklaces, though.

      • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ Yǒuhǎo Huǒ Māo

        I have too.

  • Nikita

    A Toronto area hospital made headlines this week with ads in response to this charter trying to draw medically trained people from Quebec: “We don’t care what’s on your head. We care what’s in it.”

  • Rationalist1

    This is a very troubling legislation. Mainly for its marginalization of minority religious beliefs but to a lesser extent on its portrayal of atheists (Pauline Marois is an atheist) as anti-religion and its distortion as to what a true secular government should be. As a Canadian, a former Catholic and now atheist myself, and person from Canada’s only officially bilingual province, I’m opposing this measure as strongly as I can.

  • Tel

    Why are skullcaps banned? They aren’t disruptive or excessive or risky or concealing, and they’re a lot harder to see when you’re talking with someone face-to-face than a religious necklace.

  • Treefield

    I’m all for getting religious symbols out of government where they represent or imply state endorsement of religion, but this is absurd. A woman wearing a hijab in a government office does not harm me in any way, nor does a police officer wearing a turban as part of his uniform. This isn’t about ensuring the separation of government and religion, it’s racist xenophobia, and a clear violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/ferulebezelssite/ Ferule Bezel

    What about secular head coverings? Does a woman going through chemo have to display her clumps of missing hair? What about BGBCs (Balding Guy Baseball Caps)?

  • Yanik Crépeau

    In Québec, atheists are sharply divided on this question.

    One of the key leader of the atheist community, Daniel Baril, is a very strong supporter of the charter. (http://voir.ca/daniel-baril/). The charter creates a collective right: the right to live in a secular society free from religious dogma. The debate is how we balance collective rights with individual rights, including the right to wear religious symbols or clothing. Another issue is the fact that the charter says that all religious belief system are equal but the historically dominant one (the roman catholic Church) seems to be more equal than the others. We live in democracy and I am sure these problems could be fixed.

    • kaydenpat

      It’s unfair to favor the Catholic Church over other churches and over other religions. That should be plain to everyone. Ban all religious symbols or ban none.

  • AxeGrrl

    I’m against this charter in general, but if we were to find out that an atheist couldn’t wear a red ‘A pin of the same size of the allowable cross necklaces, I’d have a BIG problem with that, needless to say.


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